Tough Love Performance Reviews, in 10 Minutes

By Mona Patel | Review By Kelly Sanders, PT, DPT, OCS, ATC

Harvard Business Review’s article “Tough Love Performance Reviews, in 10 Minutes,” by Mona Patel, offers yet another alternative to the traditional performance review. As this article and other related articles have stated, the manner in which most employers approach performance reviews is outdated and ineffective in today’s business world. The author goes on to state that recently 53 percent of human resources professionals gave a grade of B to C+ when rating their organization’s performance review system, and only 2 percent gave their system an A, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

The author set out to address two deficiencies she saw in conventional performance reviews: the time they took to conduct and prepare as well as the formality of the review itself. She looked at key aspects of reviews including how feedback is given, the time it takes to complete the in-person review, who led the performance review, the objective, and the frequency, all with the overriding objective to get maximum impact in the least amount of time. What came of this … her Tough Love Review.

The Tough Love Review is a 10-minute, one-on-one meeting with each employee that provides the employee with control over how they receive the feedback in terms of the “Love” or the “Tough” being first, provides a succinct 10-minute agenda for the reviewer to follow, and ensures the employee has dedicated time to respond to the feedback.

The article outlines the structure in detail of how to collect your thoughts to prepare for these reviews, a specific agenda, and even prompts to use in the review. Overall, it has been a positive so far with our team and a way to help managers and supervisors move away from “annual reviews” and toward more frequent discussions with clearer expectations.


Kelly Sanders, PT, DPT, OCS, ATC, is a member of the Impact editorial board and is president of Team Movement for Life, a 19-location outpatient physical therapy practice operating in California and Arizona. Kelly can be reached at

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